tv U.S. Senate CSPAN May 10, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT
the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. a senator: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. all time has expired. the question is on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
are 56, the nays are 42. the nomination is confirmed. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to a period of morning business for debate only until 7:00 p.m. tonight, that senators be allowed to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow, may 11, the senate proceed to executive session to consider nomination number 44, calendar number 44, that there be an hour of debate equally divided in the usual form. that upon the use or yielding back of that time, the senate proceed to vote without intervening action or debate on calendar number 44, that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table with no intervening action or debate, that no further motions be in order to the nomination, that any statements related to the nomination be printed in the record, that the president of the united states be immediately notified of the senate's action, and the senate then resume legislative session.
the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the president will be notified of the senate action on the confirmation. mr. reid: mr. president, i would ask that the period of morning business now be noticed. announced. the presiding officer: the senate will now proceed to morning business. mr. reid: i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll of the senate. quorum call:
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. tester: thank you, mr. president. are we in a quorum call? the presiding officerwe are.mr.m call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. and the senator from montana is recognized. mr. testerer: thank you. mr. president, i rise in support of legislation that i'm proud to
cosponsor to finally end the taxpayer handouts to the world's largest oil companies as they rake in record profits. the measure's about accountability, it's about responsibility, it's about fairness. when i got out the tractor for planting spring late last weekend, i went to fill my tank and the cost was $3.69 a gallon in big sandy, montana. almost a dollar higher than it was just a few months ago. but while i am paying close to four bucks a gallon at the pump, like other working americans, the oil company execs are padding stock options, bonuses and diminishing their investment here in america through tax loopholes to offshore production. i'd like to make just three quick points today about the over $4 billion in tax earmarks the biggest oil companies in america are receiving today. first, they never asked for them. second, they don't need them. and finally, they're not good for america or our economy.
these taxpayer handouts are running up our national debt and taking our jobs overseas and they expose us to higher gas prices. in 2005, the c.e.o.'s of the five largest oil companies testified in the senate about these subsidies. when asked directly about these oil and gas tax breaks, all five executives said they didn't ask for them. they agreed with president bush that the price of oil a at that time accident over $55 a barrel, that they didn't need those tax exemptions. and as we all know today, oil is over $105 per barrel. and the c.e.o.'s told the committee they would have a minimal impact on the company. let me be clear, those executives were then. this has nothing to do with exon or chevron's ability to operate refineries or jobs here at home. it has everything to do with
holding the executives accountable to all americans as they rake in billions of profits every year. right now, big oil executives are writing off the royalties they played to foreign countries as taxes, and until we fix it, all of us are paying for it. it means you and i are footing the bill every time one of these big company writes a check to the government of saudi arabia or nigeria and they're telling us they don't want it or don't need it, we should do the fiscal responsible thing and that is close these loopholes. instead, we should use that $8.5 billion to pay down our own deficit and that's what this bill does. special tax breaks are supposed to make companies more competitive and get new technologies in the market. and for the major oil companies, we've written a privileged tax code just for them. some of these provisions have been on the books since 1913. now, i don't know what companies after 98 years still need a subsidy but if it does, either it isn't very effective or the system is being abused. as you'll hear again and again this week because it is just an
astonishing number, as gas prices surpass four bucks a gallon, oil companies are getting $4 billion annually in tax breaks. the big five oil companies have made nearly a trillion dollars in profit over the last decade. nearly $32 billion of that came in the first three months of this year alone. but what's happening to gas prices, rather than bringing them down at the pump, these giveaways merely line executive pockets and meanwhile gas prices have gone up. for example, exon, the biggest of the oil companies in the united states, made more than $9 billion in profit last year just from their u.s. operations. and how much did they pay in taxes? $39 million. that's .04%. but this is more fair than in 2009, when exxon received $156 million tax refund from the i.r.s. that means that we as taxpayers were paying them. the tax code's broken. this bill will help fix it.
right now, we're making tough choices about how we get a handle on this nation's debt. we have tough debates ahead about heating homes in rural america and investing in crumbling highways and strengthening the future of medicare. all the while we are still literally writing checks to our biggest oil companies. they don't need them. after causing the largest oil spill -- offshore oil spill in american history, b.p. still managed to rake in more than $7 billion in profit, up 17% from the year before. but most of these big companies are not developing their onshore resources here at home. how do i look at the oil worker in montana's bakken field and say we're giving the largest oil companies a billion dollars a year to go drill overseas taking your opportunities offshore? dual capacity, the most egregious of these tax provisions, subsidizes $1 billion each year in royalty payments to foreign governments who don't like us very much. we don't let companies producing in america credit royalty payments to their taxes, so why
do we do the same for countries outside the u.s.? and does it make it safer? does it bring stability to the market? absolutely not. as we've all watched in the last few months, turmoil in the middle east has driven up speculation and driven up prices. oil prices fell about 10% last week. that's not enough to relieve hard-working montanans with any change in price at the pump. prices didn't fall because of the discovery of a new oil field or new technology, because some folks on wall street moved some numbers around on a piece of paper. that's no accountability in that be, anthat, and that's what we'e trying to change. unlike on wall street, there are places where folks are doing hard work oil discovery and to develop technology and her on the cost of oil. a lot of that has to do with the small guys in the oil business and they are successful. in fact, domestic production is going strong at its highest level in almost a decade. they're taking risks and getting new technology into the field, like in eastern montana. my state is home to likely the
most productive domestic onshore oil field in the united states. it's small oil companies that are doing good, responsible and securing america's energy future. the bakken field is estimated to hold nearly 7 billion barrels of oil. they are leading the way in developing new technology for oil field development. where is exxon? they aren't reinvesting the last quarter's $11 billion back in the u.s. exploration. in fact, in 2009, they paid their shareholders 90% of the profits to shareholder, leaving just 10% to develop in their work force, and expanding the energy frontier. contrary to what some of my colleagues are saying, eliminating these subsidies won't raise gas prices -- and i want to repeat that -- eliminating these subsidies will not race gas prices. many of these have been on the books for decades and prices have continued to rise. it is time to close the loopholes for big oil in order to strengthen our national security and our energy future.
it's time to end the taxpayer handouts to big oil. this bill returns us to a responsible path forward towards energy development and benefits taxpayers and the consumers and it starts addressing the debt and the deficit. it's the right thing to do. and with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll of the senate. quorum call: vitiated.
16, which was submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. con. res. 16, concurrent resolution authorizing the use of emancipation hall in the capitol visitors center for event to celebrate the birthday of king cay may mayia. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to its consideration. mr. bennet: i ask unanimous consent that the concurrent resolution be agreed to, the resolution to reconsider be laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate, any statements relating to the measure be printed in the record at the appropriate place. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. bennet: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of senate resolution 178, submitted earlier today. officer the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 178, expressing support for the designation of may 1, 2011, as silver star service banner day.
the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to its consideration. mr. bennet: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate, any statements relating to the matter be placed in the record as if read. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. bennet: mr. president, i understand that s.940 introduced earlier today by senator menendez is at the desk and i ask for its first reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. 940, a bill to dries the federal budget deficit by closing big oil tax loopholes and for other purposes. mr. bennet: i now ask for its second reading and object to my own request. officer objection is heard. the bill will be read a second timed on the next legislative day. mr. bennet: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the appointments at the desk appear separately in the record as if made by the
chair. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. bennet: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 9:30 a.m. on wednesday, may 11, that followingings the prayer and pledge, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning hour be deemed expired, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, that following any leader remarks, the senate proceed to a period of morning business for debate only until 2:00 p.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each, with the first hour equally divided and controlled between the leaders or their designees, with the republicans controlling the first 30 minutes and the majority controlling the next 30 minutes. and that following morning business, the senate proceed to executive session under the previous order. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. bennet: mr. president, there will be a roll call vote around 3:00 p.m. tomorrow on confirmation of executive calendar number 44, the nomination of arenda wright
>> the military senior commander in eastern afghanistan says insurgent activity is not increased in this area since the death of osama bin laden. major general john campbell also said border cooperation with pakistan is at an all-time high of the last few months. he spoke with reporters today for about 45 minutes. >> hi, dave. got you out in clear. >> good morning to you those here in the pentagon and in
afghanistan. they took him back to the pentagon briefing room army major general, john campbell, commanding general of regional command east. general campbell assumes the duties in afghanistan of june of last year. he previously spoke with us in this format in october and joins us again today from his headquarters in bagram airfield. next week general campbell will transition responsibility for regional command east or the first calvary division army major general daniel allen. general campbell makes an opening comments and then take your questions. with that, i'll turn it over to you. >> thanks, dave. i'm at a disadvantage because i can't see anybody out there. i'm sure it's not too many of you who over the course of the years have been around, country and pentagon. i think it's customary to have a written statement to go over all of your accomplishments over the past year. i don't really want to do that.
but u.s. and cars to talk about security government, information ops, but i'd rather really graduated to questions than answers. but i would tell you it's been a very, very exciting year for regional command east. it was an honor to serve with afghan partners for the last year. i do want to bring in three different points. first is transitional authority. dave talked about mexico turnover to the first calvary division, a friend of mine thad allen is over here now going to the transition process. our legacy is how will be said of the unit comes in behind us and that's what we're trying to do here. staff officers have been working together over the last year. several recon spy both dan and his staff personnel as commanders, you are most vulnerable when you transition, but i believe we really mitigate risk because of the great cooperation because of the first calvary division in the 101st airborne division just like with the 82nd a year ago.
again, dear redoes transitions of authority at every level. we've been doing them for many, many years. i feel very comfortable about the transfer authority and i could not pixie better officer behind me. at night to talk about realignment of forces. we've been doing that over the last year, getting input tray. a lot of talk early on about coming out of the passion river valley pier but inherited studies we did not come out of the pesch river valley. we are going for safe, but over a timid. we really look forward to a general petraeus talks about. we have been getting the inputs right and moving around afghan forces where they needed to beat, where we needed them an advantage additional battalions over the course of the year. we've added additional police over the course of the year. we really think we have a pretty good right now and the rate structure, the right asking
forces, the right coalition forces in the race strategy. we've seen great progress every single day although sunday's very frustrating. two steps forward, one step back if progress were very proud of coalition partners in the afghan partners. we have been realigning forces over the course of the year. we have over 130 plus cups at operating bases. we have transferred some to the afghans, close them and then does a continual process and every commander is the command continues to do throughout his tenure through afghanistan, so we continue to do that. we feel good about the stats of the first calvary division in our afghan partners here. a little bit about the spring campaign season. we've been knotted about the march timeframe. over the winter timeframe the up-tempo continue to be high and regional command east. we stayed after the battlefield munitions, ieds is well over double what it was the same
period last year. we really think we changed the dynamics of the battlefield by doing this. as the insurgents are trying to come back and do their own spring campaign, be announced in late april about the first of may that they would come out at us hard. we have not seen an uptick in regional command east on attacks. for about 30 days prior to one day, the number of tax was between 25 to 30 per month and the number after one may be second same. it does continue to go honestly also said it made the pledge about one may in the spring offensives is they would try to reduce casualties and they have done the opposite. the first of may that killed seven afghan civilians and wounded 34. vicious attacks against women and children. 90% of civilian casualties in regional command east. we have her own spring campaign i worked hand-in-hand with our
afghan part is. very proud of how they continue to uptick winning and integration with coalition forces and we have several operations ongoing at this point in time. very aggressive going after the enemy. that is really made a difference on what the enemy is trying to do to come back for their spring campaign which we have not seen. going back to the peace whether the insurgent casualties on the first of may was done by a 12-year-old boy, a suicide bomber at the haqqani network coming out of pakistan strapped on some explosives and killed many of the civilians i talked about. so i spring campaign again, i'm going to ask a lot lately about the difference has become harder and how they've changed since the death of bin laden after the first of may. answer is no, we have not seen the increase. we've heard a lot of talk about it, the coalition forces in street partners are prepared for that. i feel good about the step we have right now.
last thing i'd like to talk about at the beginning of their cooperation, coordination. everything was done over the past year has shown us shoulder to shoulder with both the army, police and the afghan border police. we've really worked up out hard and i think we can really see the results over the past year. i feel very good about where the afghan national security forces are. still a lot of work to be done, but we do think we're at a much better afghan security force that we had a year ago. it really is a lot of great work by the coalition partners. they've really stepped up and we really feel good about the future of afghanistan, especially based on performance today. again, i've talked to many of you throughout the year, but i welcome your questions in a team that the opportunity to talk a little bit about us, so stand standby for questions. >> general from ap, picking up on your point about not having seen any uptick in taliban
attacks but he, we have a story today quoting a police chief as saying it was a rather large scale taliban attack on police. wondering if you have any details on that. if i may add a second question, as you finish up your year there and prepare to transition now, what is your view on whether theories room for a drawdown of u.s. troops either in your region, either this summer or later this year? >> okay, bob, thanks. appreciate both those questions. the first one, the attack on the check point, i've seen the report also. i just got off the phone with my tagline, which is located at camp perry in bagram province. the police there, army there. it is a joint talk. they just got off the phone with that same police chief, general nurse johnny.
he had reported about 400 insurgents attacking the check point. he was not at that location. were talking about what do they need? we have never seen the whole year has been here, 400 insurgents. i would welcome if we could get 400 insurgents. we have to really go back and tell us what he's saying, get better information from the check point. the latest he had was three wounded afghan national police. they believe they killed or wounded about 10 insurgents. we asked them if they needed ammunition. they did not need that at this point in time. he is a long distance away. he's about 20 miles to the north of this particular check point. there was talk that a district center had been run over. we have moved unmanned aerial aircraft. we are having some weather issues. the mountainous terrain is very,
very tough as the weather comes in and out. we tried to get full motion video so we can see what's going on. the initial report is the check point is still intact. they're still working there. there was some sort of attack. we'll continue to work with partners they are. we do not have any coalition forces up and not part of nurse in, so it's hard to get back in port you to get it coverage there. they're hundreds of thousands of isolated small valleys. and again, communication is very, very tough. they are good with our attack and they are getting at least some calls into general nurse tammy with 400 insurgents he talked about. you know, just in the same area, you have version a tall period last year when we took over, we had to send in coalition forces. the 82nd to death before us, but we really try to move back towards an afghan solution.
over the last year, the afghans really pick that up. they've taken control. there's also reports daily about insurgents overrunning. we have an assessment team the other day. they have afghan border police, afghan national police. we resupply them with ammunition that was not taken over. there weren't hundreds of insurgents likely. last week. a lot of this really when you get up, we've really got to understand the insurgents have a pretty good information ops campaign. and so, we've got to take that with a grain of salt. at the same time you want to make sure we provide the support for partners when they do need it, but we can't be everywhere. hopefully that gets your question. i'm a drawdown piece, that is really a decision for the president and general petraeus. as i look around regional command east come i'm thankful for the forces we have right now. we didn't get our last surge brigades of the end of august.
they came in the august time frame. they continue to do great things. in fact, we're just not being able to see the effect is coalition surge over the last several months. again, when they took over through the summer and fall timeframe, we were still getting the input tray. we really did think we have those right now. we've got to let this counterinsurgency, operations take effect. it's going to take time. again, we have realigned forces. i've taken forces from some cops. i've taken them out of places where they are static, where they are not very agile. i've taken two places to make them target forces so we can deny sanctuaries and surgeons anywhere in the battlefield and we feel very good about what we're able to do there. as far as forces coming out, i will leave that to my higher headquarters.
i'm not ready to discuss that. >> general kaczynski with nbc. the death of osama bin laden. there are voices in washington, some on capitol hill that say well, his dad should allow the u.s. to withdraw large numbers of troops from afghanistan and essentially and the u.s. participation in the order. now, do you believe that? if so, why? if it's not the case, why not? >> thanks, jim for the question. you know, bin laden, certainly the leader of al qaeda but when man does not make this war on terrorism. in the short term we have not seen a big impact on his dad in our city east. there's been a lot of talk about revenge, about coming up of coalition and afghan forces here
and we have not seen that here since the first of may since we talked about that. again, i don't think one person makes the war on terror here. go find somebody to replace them. they're going have issues i think without bin laden based on the ability to have -- ability to have his charisma to bring in funds and that kind of thing to recruit. again, there's multiple insurgent groups. haqqani as one of him that afghanistan and the coalition forces are going in trying to neutralize here. so i don't think the war is over and i don't think the loss of bin laden will cause us to change our strategy. >> general tom shanker with "the new york times." thank you so much for your time today. this question follows on that, which is whether the death of bin laden might in some way to sort an effort at reconciliation. you've talked us before. you shouldn't think of one
insurgency is indicate they are. clearly groups have different relationships with each other and with al qaeda central litter late or ideologically. is there a chance to divide these groups and perhaps bring some to the table for negotiations? >> thanks, tom. good to hear from you. thanks for the question. i think that's a great question. i've talked about reintegration and the potential game changer out there. we are seeing a regional command east a lot more in the last 60 days. the governors are really taking aside. your informal and formal modes of reintegration. we're seeing a lot more of informal or the governors are picking up. people are coming to the sub governors come the governors of the 14 different provinces we have. so we feel very good about reintegration. we have to continue to educate through ministries on what we can do on reintegration, we can offer to folks who want to
reintegrate. i think because of the death of bin laden, there's great potential for many people out there that will want to come back, to have that opportunity. they look at and understand and have seen videos of bin laden in a small room looking at a tv of pictures of themselves up or, kind of alone and desperate. you know, this big later they thought he was sitting in pakistan. many of the other insurgent groups, the leadership stays in pakistan. they don't share the same hardships as the fighters. i think the insurgents are going to see this and say hey, why am i doing this? i think there's great potential for many of the insurgents to say hey, i went to integrate. but president karzai in afghanistan, we denounced al qaeda. they pledge allegiance to afghanistan that afghanistan will take them back. there has been political solution to this figure and i think that this gives us great opportunity and i think
president karzai and the afghanistan's look at it as well. to tell you the truth come i hope it does. the afghan people deserve this opportunity to live a better life in reintegration is going to go a long way. >> hi, general, jim dear mel. when i spoke to last item you are talking about cooperation with the pakistani 11 court they think it was. i'm wondering if there was a change and not since the dimension killed in london? and are the pakistani starting to cooperate on taking down the haqqani network at least along the border region? >> thanks for the question. yeah, we've been working the border piece very hard since day one we got here. we've been working on a relationship with my counterpart tear come into leavenworth, frontier scouts. i've been to pakistan several times. he is, for to afghanistan, taken
counterparts. i think the tactical operation level, that cooperation is really the best we've ever seen. battalion to be telling the, border five means opening those lines of communication has held all across the 450 plus miles of border with pakistan. so i think it's gotten really well. after the bin laden case for a day or two, we had communication issues are battalion commanders, brigade commanders were trying to contact the counterparts. we did have the very good contact, but i tell you about two days ago the brigade to brigade border flag and colonel shawn jenkins was the best border flag we've had. that was just two days ago. we continue to see great cooperation at least at that level. about a month or so ago we were involved in operations up in the northern part of crooner. as we conducted operations on pakistani counterparts, we're able to do complementary ops
that enhance really what were able to do with the afghan counterparts. they've had a very big operation within the agency in both the afghan and coalition forces to do complementary operations to what they're doing in the mood agency. it's gotten better over the last 60 days. i've not had a chance to talk to joe oxman sentenced to death of bin laden. i'll see you next week as we bring them over to really transition with the first calvary division as well and again we have to continue to work very hard on that relationship. i think they really can't talk about afghanistan unless pakistan is in that equation. so we value that relationship. not only the coalition of pakistanis, but also the afghan counterparts because in the end they've got to continue to work shoulder to shoulder. >> can you describe the realignment of your forces?
could you tell us how the insurgents in a different insurgent groups have reacted or not to the realignment and attack tapes or their operations? >> absolutely. thanks for the question. i'll just use an example. that's the westernmost top that we had in the pesch river valley. we transferred back to the afghan control. i don't want to go into exact numbers, but they came back as air and a lot of insurgent information operations after we left they had surrounded and taken over the cop, that the police and the district center right outside were wearing civilian clothes and non-go on. that word got back to general abdullah to a first-quarter commander. he and brigadier warren phipps
flew up there early one morning about 05 in the morning and took out the afghan or commander, it was an executive officer and was actually the commander had left. general con the ground. it was all they are. the morale was high. he installed a new battalion commander. the police over there were information, all in uniform. all of those reports we got that non-go on have been overrun were not true. the morale of the soldiers out there knowing they taken over from the coalition forces for something to be seen. in the month of february, 35 attacks. since the first of march, there've been maybe three attacks. a lot of those attacks on their italia the coalition were getting them go in there. about three attacks, a lot of
the insurgent propaganda and many of those places that are in those isolated mountain ranges have been taken over and that she is not the case. >> general, from bloomberg news. if i understand correctly, this is the flow of the volume of reintegration of lower-level soldiers really hasn't been what the u.s. had been an coalition partners had hoped it would be. it's still fairly slow. i'm interested in hearing why that might be the case. also, are there any areas even geographically or results wise where you seem a backside in the past year? ..
>> but over the course of the year as far as security, what we're tracking is in 60 of those districts, the security level has gotten much, much better as we assess those, and there's probably just a handful where the security level has back stepped a little bit, so at least 60 have gone up out of 160. we think that's very, very good. many of those we don't assays
because we're not there, and we don't have the good afghan presence as well. these are up in the mountains, way up west in gaza where there's no forces or a lot of population out there as well. if you go to the pesh river valley, there's counterinsurgency, the coin piece, really if you look at those four provinces and that's only 2.7% of the population of all, and there's 8 million plus here in rc east. in the pesh river valley, it's 4.7% of the population. we don't have good assessments where there's no population. in the security realm, 60-plus districts up in security. lower in the 35-40 districts gone up and everywhere we apply the resources, we have seen improvement, and i didn't get
the first part of the question. >> about reintegration of lower level fighters, and what do you think accounts for the fact there have been more sort of laying down arms and rejoining society or turning around. >> a couple different reasons. i think the number one reason is they are tired of fighting. they have been at this thing for 30-plus years as well. what is continued to be kept on them forceses them to reintegrate. they say i can sit out here in the middle of a valley and continue to try to attack or reunit with my family, come back in afghanistan, and, oh, by the way, the leaders telling me to attack are not here, but in pakistan. they are taking a hard look at it and saying, hey, why am i doing this? as we're able to get messages
out there and show them the benefits of coming back in under the government of afghanistan, reuniting with their families, we think they are tired of fighting. the pressure that the coalition forces continue to keep on the insurgents, i think is a great deal about making them want to reintegrate. >> i was wondering if you have sense of why there aren't more fighters reintegrating than you already have, and can you quantify how many have rei want grated, but why you think those who have not are staying back? >> yeah, we can get you the exact numbers we're tracking in regional command, and i want to say it's in the neighborhood of
500 plus. we've had 30-40 here just in the last week as we continue to get the message out through the governors, sub governors, the benefits come back of reuniting with your family, having a job, living a normal life, not on the run or in a cave someplace, not knowing if the afghan forces will strike you with a bomb or something. that's driving them. they are seeing that's not a good way of life, and that the people who are living in the villages now are starting to see a better life and hope for afghanistan, and they want a part of that and want to reintegrate. why the number's not larger, i think it is larger, but again, i said there's an informal and formal way to do this, and the formal reintegration works through the governors. it's a bureaucratic process we continue to work through now. we are learning the coalition and afghans learn more about it how how to implement that and make it better, but the informal piece, we don't know that's
happening. we are dependent upon the governors to tell us guys they are bringing in. as many governors as i talk to say i just had a phone call from this leader of the group who wants to bring in 25 people, and they work in their own time and way and that's informal reintegration, so i think those numbers are much, much greater than what you see out there in the press, but we got to continue to let that grow, and i think it's going to continue to more and more as they see that the credibility in the capacity continues to grow, and they'll see that life of running all the time and hiding 1 not the way to go. 99.9999% of the afghan people want the same thing we want for our families. they want a roof over their head, jobs, where the meals are coming from, the kids to go to school, and i think the future is with the free afghanistan,
not with the insurgents. >> general, mike from the london times. there was a close personal relationship with mumar and bin laden. now that's bin laden has been removed, do you see, as secretary gates indicated, that reason there might be a big impact on the insurgency itself and and the way it attacks over the next few months? >> yeah, i heard secretary gates say that as well, and i would concur. you know, i have not talked to umar, but when he sees we have bin laden and continue to keep the pressure up, i think he thinks he's probably next. if i were him, i would encourage the taliban to rereintegrate as well. at some point, that will
happen. i think president karzai is reaching out, and others have seen that, you know, what the coalition says, we're going to hunt you down. it may take awhile, and took 10 years here, but we will not forget. he's in that category therement i think for the taliban at some point in time they'll see the reintegrate with the government of afghanistan is the right future. it's a potential game changer as secretary gates said. >> we're both going to get one. general, this is nancy and i was wondering if you could clarify something you said earlier. you said bin laden's death would not end the war, the war would continue and the death of one man doesn't mean the end of the war. at the same time, you said it could lead to great potential of reconciliation. can you help me understand realistically it's driven by the death of bin laden, and when you
said at some point it's leading to that, what time line are we looking at? >> i don't know. i can't answer that question to tell you the truth. i just think that, you know, we're going to continue to keep the pressure on with our afghan counter parts, the operations we conduct through the offensive operations, the depth of regional commanders, keeping the pressure on the insurgents, continue to protect the population of afghanistan, the insur sents find out this is not the way they want to go forward. i do think the death of bin laden will cause some of them to think twice again, and they will say, hey, why am i doing this? i can't put a number on a time frame on it. again, in the short term, in just the last week or so, we have seen some reintegrate, particularly in two of my prosinces. i can't tell you if that's because of the death of bin laden or not or they were thinking about that before. it's hard for me to give a
timeline on that. i have a gut feeling and a lot of people do here in afghanistan that, you know, this was the number one guy for al-qaeda, a lot of people do include the taliban have this relationship with al-qaeda, and they are going to think twice now. why are we doing this? why was he in pakistan when i'm suffering here? they know the relationship of al-qaeda is doing the same thing. when i said the war is not over, there's many insurgent groups inside of afghanistan and pakistan that are figging the after -- fighting the afghan security forces, fighting the afghan people, so, you know, i really do believe we live in the most dangerous times of our life, and al-qaeda has shown that coming to the homeland, and since our forces here in afghanistan, we have not had another 9/11, and we have to continue to press that fact. >> [inaudible] >> rachel martin with npr. another question about the
haqqani network and how they represent the toughest element of the insurgency over your area. can you talk more about how that specific threat changed and when you are ready to leave in a week, are you satisfied with the level in which your troops have been able to degrade that threat over the past year, and what metrics do you use to analyze that? >> thanks for the question. haqqani is the most lethal threat in afghanistan. they have sanctuaries in pakistan, come across the border, kill coalition, women, and children. they are well-funded. they have the ability to regenerate. we killed many, and when they mass as they did last october and november time frame, we killed probably 90 out of 110-120, but when they attacks again, the same thing. we continue to kill haqqani and
took out a lot of the lower leadership, but they have the ability to regenerate fighters. the network, i don't think will reintegrate. my gut tells me that thousand, so we have to continue to keep the pressure on, and, you know, along that border what they are trying to do is expaneled their influence -- expand their influence. we saw signs they are coming up through gahzni, but, again, the afghan security forces are protecting kabul down to the borders. the number of attacks in kabul has continued to go down, i think, the lethal attacks continues to go down, and that's a great credit for our afghan partners. since june, over 4,000 insur gents were taken off the battlefield, killed, captured, and detained. several are haqqani, but many have been, and we really
disrupted that network and hosts in particular, and that's both with the coalition forces, afghan counterparts, and special operating forces who every single night continue to go out and go after the haqqani network, and we feel good about the progress made, have to continue to do it. we need help from pakistan. they are doing a lot more. again, 18 months ago, 30,000 people on the border. now they have 140,000 on the border. they have taken several losses themselves. they continue that fight. that's why we have to continue to work with our counterparts to build that trust and confidence to fight this common enemy that's killing innocent women and children in afghanistan and in pakistan. >> jennifer griffin from fox news. i was wondering what the current estimates are in terms of how many foreign fighters are in afghanistan, and whether you've seen a flood of foreign fighters into your region since bin
laden's killing, and did you change your force posture or reposition in order to catch them as they came back across the border? >> jennifer, thanks for the question. along the board -- border, we've gone to on increase when they announced a spring campaign. the way we got at that was offensive. we have several operations throughout the breath of regional commanders, stayed on the offensive, and that's the best way to be defensive. we continue cowork that. i have not seen a large number of foreign fighters come through since bin laden east death. i will tell you over the course of a year if i were to put an estimate on the percentage, it's around 80% from afghanistan, and 15%-20% foreign fighter.
i don't think that's gone up or down here over the last several months. you know, we do continue to get reports as we're able to get detainees and talk to them and find out. they give us information on foreign fighters, but, again, haqqani does bring in foreign fighters, more than many of the other insurgents, so we have seen that, but i have not seen a big increase with the death of bin laden. >> thank you. my question is that you are there in afghanistan because of 9/11 and 9/11 happened because of bin laden. now he's gone, and the whole world is surprised and shocked, and i'm sure that includes president karzai and blamed the pakistanis they were hiding him inside pakistan which there have
been misleading the u.s. for the past 10 years that he's not there in their backyard. i'm sure as far as al-qaeda and taliban are concerned coming across the border from afghanistan into pakistan, now do you think because their commander is gone, do you believe that their band has been broken by his death? >> i think you asked me if i think the backs are broken because bin laden is dead and will we see them stop coming across the border? again, we have not seen an uptick or surge and initiated attacks. i have not seen a big increase come across the border. in fact, the border incursions over the last six months has continued to be affecting us, but there may be more in
numbers, but the effectiveness goes down in numbers. throughout 2010, the number of attacks were significant activities were up 21%, but the effectiveness is down 28%, becoming less effective because our afghan counterparts and coalition gets better and belter. we have -- better. we have more forces than ever before, and that's good. i don't think it's because of his death. that impacts some people, but i think it's too early to tell, but in the short term, we have not seen a significant increase coming across border based on bin lad p's death. >> quick follow, quick follow. what message do you have for pakistan or what kind of help now you need from pakistan or what can they do now after his death? >> i think you asked me what do we need from pakistan? you know, i need to continue to
keep the lines of communication opened up with the 11th corp.. i have pakistanis on that, three border coordination centers with afghan officers, coalition officers, and pakistani officers in there 24/7 continuing to build cooperation and that trust, keeps the lines of communication open. we have to work together against this common enemy. that goes out and trying to kill innocent men, women, and children. i need their continued pressure on the places that are harboring these terrorist individuals for regional commands. a lot is in north way desire stan, and we have a lot of haqqani leadership hanging out this, so we'll continue to work that very, very hard. i feel good about the last two months with our relationship with pakistan at my level. we're going to continue to work
that very, very hard, and i think that will make a difference in the long run. >> all right. last question to lou. >> can you ask you specifically with the haqqani network, what makes them so resilient? they continue to be a strong factor. are they recruiting? what is it that appeals to people on both sides of the border for the network to continue? >> yeah, i think you asked me they have take p a great hit, but continue to come back. is that the question? >> yes, and specifically what makes them resilient? what's the appeal factor in the network? >> okay. well, again, as we talked about, they do have this uncanny ability to continue to regenerate forces in the places across the border and pakistan.
the figure i heard before is 10%. i don't know how true that is, but as we take out x am over the course of the year, they grow by 10%. we've seen a great difference though because we took out a lot of the leadership, and when we first got here, much of the leadership was experienced, battle hard ped. we have taken them off the field. a lot of the leadership is much, much younger, less experienced. the amount of supplies they have, i talked about the cashes, over double what we took off the battlefield a year ago. that has to make an inpact on what they are able to do. i think we are disrupting what haqqani can do. why they have this ability to regenerate, to grow forces here, remember across that border, many of those -- this is a tribe there, and this is family ties, and there is no border for
them. some live in afghanistan, some live in pakistan. it's a family thing there, and those ties are very, very strong, and that's going to be very tough. we have to continue to work through our afghan counterparts through our pakistani counterparts to counter the rhetoric haqqani passes on to the people, and i think overtime we'll continue to work at that, but i think that familiar tie that they have, and haqqani network is a move ya syndicate organization as well and continue to use fear tactics, continue to cohearse, you know, a 12-year-old boy to put exblowsives on his body and walk into a crowded bizarre and blow himself up. what kind of people do that? haqqani do it. it's a great threat here, and we have to continue to stay after it. >> general, i'll leave it with you for closing remarks you'd like to make. >> well, thanks very much.
again, i can't see you back there in washington, d.c.. i do appreciate you taking the time to come ask questions. i appreciate talking to many of you. as i heard who was there throughout the year and pass on many of the obvious vaixes we have -- observations we have had. we've seen progress in development. we continue to see that day by day. for that soldier sitting out there, it's sometimes very, very hard, like ground hog day, but at my level here, you see the progress every single day, and we are proud of our relationship with our afghan counterparts who continue to grow and get better. we value their relationship, that friendship with them. i have to say thanks to our families back at fort campbell, the communities that help out. they have been very, very good, and, you know, we've taken some huge losses here. every single loss changes the life of many people back there. i carry the cards, i think many people have seen me carry these,
101st soldiers, here, and they are heros. we can't forget their impact and sacrifice and the sacrifice of their families, and we have to take care of those families for the rest of their life. we owe that to them. we have to honor our fallen like that. again, very, very proud of what we've accomplished here over the past year. there's still a lot of work to do. we feel good about how we are turning this over to the first calvary division who takes it to the next step. there's a great team coming on board. most of the brigades stay in place, start transitions brigades over time, but there's some in place for quite a while as we transition. we feel good about where we've come. appreciate what you do back over there, getting the word out for the coalition forces, afghan
counterparts, and never forget the great fallen and heros in our families. thank you very much. >> thank you for your time today and all the time that you've given us over the past year. god speed to you and your forces coming home. >> thanks very much. >> here's a lock at the prime time schedule on c-span2.
>> let me be as clear as i can be. without the significance spending cuts and changes in the way we spend the american people's money, there will be no increase in the debt limit. >> follow the date on the debt ceiling as lawmakers continue to work on economic issues, government spending, and the deficit online at the c-span video library where you can search, watch, clip, and share
every video from 1987 through today. it's washington your way. >> earlier today, senate republican leader spoke to reporters on the need to secure the u.s.-mexico border and raising the debt ceiling. president obama plans to meet with senate republican caucuses tomorrow and thursday to talk about the long term deficit. this is 15 minutes.
[inaudible conversations] >> okay, good afternoon, everyone. couple of observations. number one, i think the decision by the democratic whip in the house, congressman hoyer today to come out against the president's executive order that we anticipate he will issue basically saying that if you want to do business with the government, you can't contribute to the republicans. i'm glad to see that somebody on the other side is standing up to this blatant attempt to intimidate people into not contributing to the administration that opposes or to the contrary as basically senator collins pointed out on
several occasions, repealing the hatch agent by putting politics back into the procurement process, truly outrageous suggestion which the white house still has an opportunity to not go forward with. we'll be watching that very closely. with that, let me call on senator kyl. >> i noticed that on his way back from a fundraising event in texas, the president is stopping by the border. it's a great idea. first time he will have visited the border, and as long as he doesn't hang a mission accomplished sign up, but actually talks to the folks down there about the fact that we still have a problem on the border, it could be a very illusive affair for the president. there was a report that says 44% or that 44% of the border is now under some form of operational control. that means that you still have a significant part of the border that's not, and i'd like to see
the president come to arizona because there is not operational control of the border there. senator mccain and i have had a 10-point plan providing for operational control with a modest increase in investment for more of the assets that are required to achieve success on the border. not all of this is commitment and man manpower. some is policy, the policy embodied in operation streamline in which repeated illegal border crossers have to spend time in jail before they are returned home. this is proved to be a significant deterrent. when we read now that 35,000 mexicans are killed in the last four years because of drug violence just across the border, you realize how serious the problem is. i hope that the president will bring back some lessons from this trip and that he will work
with senator mccain and me to implement our proposal in moving forward to secure the border because i think everybody recognizes until the border is secure, any hope of additional legislation dealing with immigration problem is not likely to succeed in the congress. >> you may have heard that the acting general counsel of the national labor relations board filed a complaint against the boeing company saying they can't make airplanes in south carolina in effect because it's a right to work state. i can't think of any single action the federal government could take that would make it harder to create new jobs in my state of tennessee and in other states in this country than saying a company cannot expand in a right-to-work state. we've seen in tennessee over the last 30 years, the entire auto industry move to the southeast to be competitive in america and nissan from making no vehicles
to a situation they are prepared to make 85% of what they sell here, so senator graham, demint, senator paul and i and others will introduce the right-to-work protection act to make it clear that states since 1947 may elect to have a right-to-right law that employees in those states may elect to join a union or not join a union and that employers in america are free to decide where to locate including a right-to-work state and will not be penalized for exercising their free speech rights. >> well, what was touched on is examples of regulatory agencies trying to pursue agendas that they can't get accomplished through the political process here on capitol hill. we saw that in my state with the environmental protection agency and the impact on energy prices, and we have a lot of farmers in
our state finally now with the weather conditions in the field and planting. they are concerned now about the diesel price, fertilizer, all the input heads up. heading into the travel season in the state, and there's a real concern about what $4 gas is going to do to the economy in states like south dakota, and you would think this administration would look for ways to make it less expensive, not more expensive to do business in this country, but there are agencies that come out with new regulations putting additional costs on the signal businesses creating the jobs to pull us out of the downturn, and we need energy policies that gives us more american energy so we don't spend a billion dollars a day buying foreign oil, and yet, every policy that this administration has come up with has inhibited or made it more difficult to become energy independent whether it's federal lands, the outer continental shelf, alaska, you name it, and
with the epa trying to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the clean air act, it is one thing after another making it more coastally, difficult, and expensive to do business in this country at a time we need to get the economy growing again and expanding jobs. >> the pain at the pump is absolutely hitting the families of this country. this year in america, an average driver pays $800 more for feel than they did last year which has an impact if you're a family dealing with a mortgage and with bills and with chirp in the policies of the administration make it worse. now, the president likes to talk about taxes on millionaires and billionaires, but, in fact, what is now coming out of the administration is a direct hit on middle class taxpayers. last week leaked to the press has been a proposal with a new division in the highway administration, and the specific title of this is surface
transportation revenue alternative office. an office for alternative revenues of transportation. they want to look at the number of miles someone drives and tax them for that. they call it a view. i view it as a tax so that it's on top of the taxes that people are already paying so at $4 paying at the pump rather than making american production cheaper, they are looking for more ways to tax middle class americans. >> as president obama jetting his way to texas, senator hutchenson and i invited him to stop for a moment other than in austin to observe the natural disaster of wild fires consuming 2.5 million acres in 7,000 fires in texas. the president so far has not accepted our invitation, but apparently intends to give a
speech on immigration reform in el paso and do a fundraiser in austin and return to washington, d.c.. we're disappointed he's turned down our invitation to learn more about this. i don't know what the explanation is other than maybe perhaps his staff is not serving him well in communicating the nature of the problem, but on immigration reform, i echo what senator kyl said. here we go again, another speech and meting, and no leadership from the president on immigration reform. yes, we know how hard it is and what a challenge it was in 2007 when senator reid pulled an immigration we form bill from the floor, but to echo general david petraeus talking about iraq, he says h's hard, but not hopeless. if the president shows leadership on the issue of immigration reform, credible immigration reform starting with border security, he'd find a partner with republicans knowing
what we need to do but cannot do without presidential leadership. >> take a couple questions. >> on the debt and debt ceiling, speaker boehner said the only thing off the table is raising taxes. do you think that's a fair place to begin with negotiations? >> absolutely. we're not going to raise taxes. that was decided in last november's elections. the american people believe we have the problem because we spend too much, not because we tax too too little. again, we spend too much, not because we tax too little. taxes will not be on the table in the discussions of the vice president's leading. we do intend to tack the the debt. look, standard and fours is in the process of downgrading the u.s. in terms of its credit. we saw mco, the major purchaser of u.s. debt get out of the u.s.
debt market a couple of months ago. the chairman of the president's deficit reduction, the co-chairman of the deficit reduction commission said this is the most predictable crisis in american history. we didn't know we were going to be attacked at pearl harbor, many surprised by the problem we had in 2008, but everybody knows this is coming, the warning signing are everywhere. the problem exists because we spend too much, not because we tax too little, and this whole discussion is going to be about reducing spending both short term, medium term, and long term, and as the speaker correctly absolute -- outlined yesterday, it has to be a significant, credible, no blue smoke and mirrors proposal to get republican votes in the senator and in the house to respond to his request to raise the debt limit. >> if i cowell follow, please
-- could follow, please, do you believe it puts negotiators in a box? >> no, i believe among the array of options possible, there will be no tax increase, yeah. >> that same speech speaker boehner said it's on the order of $2 trillion. do you believe with that amount? >> i think he laid out some parameters that almost all of us could agree on. let me just say this. we're going to be talking about trillions, not about billions. last month's exercise was about reducing this year's spending by $40 billion over a period of time. this discussion we're going to have in the context of raising the debt ceiling is about reducing trillions, and it will include both short, medium, and long term reductions. look, you all are familiar with the figures.
we've a $14 trillion debt. it's as big as our economy. that looks a lot like greece. second, we have over $50 trillion of unfunded liabilities, that is promises we've made and cannot keep on very popular programs. we can't get this job done and cannot raise the debt ceiling without impacting some entitlements. >> [inaudible] some of the things we are hearing that gang or group of six senators are talking about would raise some taxes but also even it out with lowering other taxes. if it's a wash, would that count? >> well, i mean, with all do respect to the gang of six or any other bipartisan discussions going on this issue, the discussions that can lead to a result between now and august or the talks being led by vice president biden, senator kyl is representing us in those
discussions. that's a process that can lead to a result, a measurable result in the short term, and in that meeting is the only democrat who can sign a bill into law, in fact, the only american out of 307 million of us who can sign a bill into law. he is in those discussions. that will lead to a result. >> the gang of six is ire relative? >> i'm sorry? >> are those meeting now ire irrelevant? >> i commend them for their effort, but until there's a way to get a result, which we will have on the debt ceiling with the president at the table, we're interested in getting a result soon, something that's measurable, something that bond markets respond to favorably, the american people respond to favorably, and one that countries overseas can look at the americaning saying by, golly, they're getting their act
together all occurring in the context in the position to raise the debt ceiling which is the conversation that the vice president is involved with. thanks, everybody. >> soon after republicans, senator majority leader hair rereid spoke with reporters on legislatures ending subsidies and applying that money to the deficit. his comments are 10 minutes. [inaudible conversations] >> i've been planning to go to that fight tar a long, long time as you know. [laughter] he came here and i felt so comfortable being with him, so -- but i got there, i've been preparing for the fight for such
a long time that i realized one of the events surrounding the fight was not a black eye event or the black tie event, so that's what happened. i got stuck with that. >> how do you feel? >> i think that i feel like moesly today. seniors are struggling. oil companies are not struggling. yet republicansment to keep -- republicans want to keep handing billions of dollars to the oil companies and ending medicare as we know it. democrats agree to cut spending. we understand how important that is and we acknowledged publicly and privately that we are going to do that, but the way to start all this is what we're going to start on today. i'm going to move a bill to the senate floor today that calls for getting rid of these subsidies that the oil companies
have. they don't need them. they've said so. i think we should do that rather than trying to end medicare. it's hard to imagine a more backwards set of values. they are telling seniors to pay for more health care at the same time they defend taxpayer handouts to these companies who have made more progress than any countries in the history of america. this past quarter, $36 billion in profits, and any american that stopped at a gas station can tell you these gas prices are extremely high from alaska where there's $8 a gallon and in california it's $5. we don't have to go to california and alaska. go down on that road, i don't know what it's called, along the water front where i did my damage to my body, there's a gas station there, and exxon gas
station that the price of gasoline last week was pennys less than $5 a gallon. any american stopping at a gas station any place in america knows what happened to the oil companies. they reported these profits in the first three months of this year at $36 billion. that's $4 billion a week, huge amounts of money. they are also picking pockets with the tax code. every year, companies get billions of dollars of subsidies from the american taxpayers. common sense tells us that these oil companies do not need these huge subsidies. we've had executives of the oil companies who said so in the past. recently, former ceo of shell said that, and all economists recognize that these subsidies, if we took them away, would not
affect gas prices at all. the only person these subsidies serve is to line the pockets of the oil companies. the most effective way to bring down the deficit is to start now, make good senator choices putting seniors ahead of oil companies should be a no brainer. questions? >> on the debt and debt ceiling, spaker boehner said the only thing off the table is raising taxes. is that a good and fair place? do you believe it's the place to begin negotiations? >> if we're going to protect the integrity of our country by raising the debt ceiling, which we have to do. remember these are not for u in spending programs. these are for things we've already run up the bill. we have to pay it. we should be drawing lines in the sand, willing to work together, and the fair way to do that is to cut spending. we know we have to do that, but
also to make the tax code a little more fair, and i think rather than drawing lines in the sand, that's where we should be. >> does it put the negotiators in the box? >> well, i think it's unfair. i think it's really unfair. the american people realize that with what we're talking about here in introducing this legislation dealing with oil company subsidies. the american people support what we're doing well over 70%. >> senator baucus said he would accept no social security changes in the short term as a way of reducing the deficit, and you said last month no social security changes. suspect that a line in the sand? >> the president said, others have said, that the way we're going to deal with the deficit is deal with things that cause problems with the deficit. social security has not contributed wop dime to the --
one dime to the deficit. >> senator, suspect -- isn't this oil company revenue between $2-$4 billion a year? >> $21 billion is what we save over the year. we're going to start it today. >> how soon -- >> i hope we can get this done in the next week. >> what about the goal of cutting the deficit by $4 trillion in ten years, is that a fair goal, and what percentage comes from new revenues? >> $4 trillion is a number floated around here because that's what the deficit reduction plan came up with that they worked on for wop year. senator -- i'm sorry, speaker boehner has said $2 trillion. of course, he didn't say over what period of time, so, you know, we're looking at large amounts of money that we have to work towards saving, and, you know, senator conrad is making presentations to us that he has
in the caucus the last two weeks. we can certainly do that, but it can't all be done by cutting domestic discretionary spending. it has to be a fair approach to more balancing the budget. something with domestic discretionary. we have to do something on defense and a better job with the taxes. >> what should be the ratio of taxes? three to one, one to one? >> senator conrad presented today 50/50. >> are you going to -- [inaudible] what about alternative energy sources? >> we're going to work on that, but i think right now the message american people want to hear is not have a complicated message, these subsidies and oil companies are necessary, and we should get rid of them, apply that $21 billion to the deficit. >> senator, on immigration today
and this morning you said you supported comprehensive reform. while the debate goes on, you're not doing individual methods like you tried last congress? >> well, first of all, i haven't heard the president's speech or told me what he's saying and at 3:30 he's talking in el paso, but i want to look what he's going to say. i have not taken my eye off the dream act. i was happy to hear in the news counts this morning that the president backed off of college age students, deporting them. that's what i heard, and i support that. >> are you prepared to take your caucus to the white house and i'm wondering what expectations you have? >> we're going to go to the white house tomorrow at 4:30, the entire democratic caucus: on the next day the republican caucus is going there, and there will be meetings following that with the democratic and republican caucus from the
house. the president is a peacemaker. he is trying to make sure everyone has input. we have no choice, that by the first part of august we have to raise the debt ceiling. we democrats agree there has to be efforts made to reduce the deficits coming in the near future more so than now, and we need to do it quickly. that's the purpose of the meeting at the white house. i requested the meetings at the white house. we were going to do it last week, but events overtook that, but we've had a constructive week and focusing where we are today, that is making sure we understand we have to do something about passing this within the next seven days paying this $21 billion to deficit. [inaudible]
>> once again, vice president joe biden hosted a third day bipartisan talks and lawmakers in the blare house across the street from the white house after today's session, vice president biden said they were making "real progress," and here's a bit of what he had to say. >> mr. vice president, what did you learn in there? >> a great deal. >> about look? >> what, optimism is an occupational requirement. we had a good discussion, set the agenda for the next meeting and making good progress. again, whether we get to the finish line with this group is another question, but everybody is being straight, cordial all the facts on the tail, and then we're going back after that is over and figure it out. >> what did you agree on?
here's a look at the primetime schedule starting at 8 p.m. eastern. officials from apple and google talk about privacy issues surrounding mobile technology devices. then a look at the economic and dip maltic relationship teen u.s. and china and the discussion on the recent flood damage in the mississippi river causing the destruction of some 1300 homes. tomorrow morning on washington journal, new jersey congressman rob andrews talking about the future u.s. strategy in afghanistan and iraq. arizona congressman, jeff flake and his thoughts on increasing the debt ceiling and other plans, and after that, former treasury secretary talks about terrorist funding and how organizations like al-qaeda get money. plus, as always, your e-mails, if any calls, and tweets, washington journal live every day at 7 a.m. eastern on c-span.
>> this court now resumes its session. please be seated. >> thank you, and good morning once again. next case is 10-55455 johnson, unified school district. each side will have 15 minutes. are you ready? >> good morning. >> morning. >> if it pleases the court, i want to reserve 5 minutes. >> sure. >> i'm jack sleath, we have the honor of representing the powell unified school district and the individuals in this matter. as my first remarks, i would like to focus on the freedom of speech case. i'm sure the court is familiar with even this factual record, but the issue here is whether the district and these
administers violated his rights asking him to remove the banners and replace them with posters with the same language in them, but were in their original context or a more historical context. the trial court aired by leaping over the threshold issue whether mr. johnson's speech was protected and moving directly to a forum analysis. that was error for a couple of reasons, but i think the first reason is that this court has given us a very clear rule on how to approach employee speech in the case which followed the pickerring line of cases, and if those first two elements of the case are examined, mr. johnson has no speech rights, and we don't get to that issue of whether a classroom is an open forum. >> what do we do about the fact they give you a bulletin board and you can decorate it however you like, but not in certain
ways? >> what do we do with the fact that the district has limitations on what's up there? what we do with that is we define curriculum the way this court has -- this court has a defined curriculum, but if we define curriculum consistent with the other courts defining it with anything that is knowledge or information imparted by a teacher during a school day, that's teacher speech that's hired and not permitted, then the material on the bulletin board is under our control just as well as long as it's communicated to students. the issue is whether it's directed towards students or not. i think if you had a place beside his desk with inspirational messages directed to him, that doesn't raise a problem or raise a problem based on the testimony of the administer's in this case.
under god in the context of the pledge of allegiance and was a lot of press that this court had outlawed one nation under god in the pledge of allegiance. this happened during a couple of years after that, and i think teachers like that, the teacher probably thought he couldn't put that out because of some of that news. i know the court to different decision on that, but he had had these banners up front more than 25 years and nobody had ever said anything. >> nobody had ever said anything and had never even noticed. and i have two answers to that. one is a legal answer but the district creates an open forum and doesn't establish a bite simply by the passage of time under the case law but factually realistically administrators don't go into the senior respected plus rooms. this is an excellent teacher. it's a good reputation and the
school for teaching math, handling the students well and i think after about ten years under the california law for such a parley required to evaluate the teacher and after you've done that about five times a think administrators -- >> this was a new principle ms. capper had just taken over at high school, and apparently if anything had been said to her predecessors no action had been taken. >> we couldn't find a record of anything we had said, the superintendent collins was the post if he was in the school and he didn't remember he had evaluated the teachers come he didn't remember -- ever even seen them and i have another explanation for that and that is when a teacher goes into the room, when an administrator goes into the room to evaluate the teacher he's not looking at the walls to much think he's looking at the teacher. >> he couldn't have missed it
based on the exhibits i saw in the record. >> i agree i wouldn't want to get into it but i think if you go into the room looking at the teacher the interaction the teacher to distance you may not even look at the walls particularly -- >> did in the principle testify one of the first things she was surprised that was the size of the banner? >> 7 feet by 2 feet? >> and then the word god was in much larger than any of the other words and phrases? >> the word creator was a much larger type in all caps like shouting the word and she was surprised by that. >> why didn't she notice in the classroom before? >> what to make a difference of mr. johnson was a six or social studies teacher rather than a mathematics teacher? >> some other cases taught us the word context is extremely important so i think the answer to that question has to be it would change the context and
that may make the analysis different if it was a social studies class. if it was a history class and an item to be discussed, my argument almost sounds silly to me because this was for 25 years. it wasn't up for a few days on a particular subject for a particular period of time. >> those would change the context. >> what's difficult for me in part is the fact one of the phrases and the principle found the superintendent from objective objected to was one nation under god and get every day in mr. johnson's's classroom they say the pledge of allegiance, right? >> absolutely. >> it's okay if you say it in the middle of the pledge of allegiance but if you put it on the banner and put it on the wall, suddenly that's not okay? >> i was rather surprised by
these administrators understanding of the current state of the first amendment jurisprudence they said that was because of the context. they fought taking it out of the pledge of allegiance and putting it on a banner with other phrases that referred to america and abroad altogether changed the context and the message and it appeared to them that the banners were directed students with a direct something different than the context of the word one nation under god as a part of the pledge of allegiance where you come down to the end and say one nation indivisible with liberty and justice -- >> what strikes me about this case is how hypothetical it is a detached from reality because the concern about the impact on students and yet there's no effort to inquire what impact if any there is on the students. >> here's my thinking why we didn't take the deposition of a bunch of students because i thought we would get decisions all over the place, and answers
all over the place. >> that's too late and i am kind of astonished the administration makes the decision based on what they think might happen without chatting up a couple of students. find out if anybody objects based upon the concern how the students will react maybe there ought to be evidence of students reacting and there isn't any. >> he couldn't leave whether or not students objected, could he? >> he couldn't treat stomach it doesn't matter whether the object or not. it's either legal or illegal. >> that's the reason given. she says she's concerned mom christian students might adversely react. >> she didn't know if it was a non-christian student or someone else in that room she didn't know that. she just thought her if she was i think it would make some students uncomfortable. i think that is a correct reading when we get down to the establishment clause the endorsement test -- >> it is a whole other set of
issues but at the threshold the problem struck me as more theoretical than real. i thing we thought it was illegal. >> that's something else again and i disagree with you on that proposition. but, the state of this nation's distillate jurisprudence is such who knows what's okay and what's not. >> i am hoping and that's one of the points i want to make on the issue of freedom of speech i am hoping this court can give us a bright line rule, and the bright line rule i would request is discord follow the idea and the holdings, the language of the mayor and define the curricular speeches outside of the arena, define it as high your speech and define it broadly, the curriculum speech as any knowledge imparted by a teacher to student during class time or during the contract today and
the workday or some language like that we have a bright line rule and leave teachers with their constitutional right to speak as they're leaving on on their brakes or other times like that but when they are working for the school district abroad definition of curriculum and the exclusion of curricular speech for the protections of the first amendment would give it administrators a bright line rule and hope at least understand the teacher speech. what mr. johnson as the adviser to the christian club be able to unfurl his banners while the christian club is meeting in the courtroom after the classroom after school hours? >> absolutely >> we have to put an exception to the breitling rule. >> when he is volunteering 1/5, when his of his time, when he's dealing with that student group
i don't think that is contracting. such >> you would call that extracurricular? >> you want to reserve on to five minutes from your down to three. >> my principal argument is that they mailed the endorsement test by saying that she was concerned some kids would feel like outsiders and we didn't violate it because we have a secular purpose. it hits the religion because offering other posters to peddle their and we avoid the the government entanglement with religion moving on to equal protection because it is fact heavy and it's all these other diagrams of all these other things. >> i have a very little time left. the thing i would like to say is if the court would look at those flags in the picture in the page
203. whether any person could look at those flags to call and come to any conclusion the primary purpose was to endorse and that from the floor those flags are high and the one little that might be a religious symbol is about an inch or inch and a half tall among the group of flags for over the side of the room buried in the squiggles i'm told our and you haven't found anybody that can translate them. estimate we haven't found anybody that can read them. the teacher that put those up asked her students and she is students from all over including thailand and areas close to the home of this language and none of them could read it. none of them had any idea the as religious and she was using it for a secular purpose to talk about carrying the flag to the top of mount everest and because she talked about seashell's on the top of mount everest. the trial court didn't believe
that. but it's the only evidence we have. the only evidence we have in her purpose of putting up the flags is she put them up and used them in the curriculum to talk about evolution and sea shells on top of mount everest. while the secondary purpose of the picture ralph buddah, the issue of whether the tibetans believe in the flags or not doesn't reach our school district. the school district is concerned about documents or speech that would have the primary effect of establishing were endorsing religion and those don't do it, so the answer is we've treated everybody alike and if somebody else had something up that endorsed religion we would have pulled it down. we did not see that and finally a brief moment on the call will fight immunity, i was stunned when the trial court issued a tunnel or award of damages against the school board members and against these administrators. they did not punish mr. johnson,
is that we disregard the fact that this is something happening during the school day through the school commentary being offered by somebody who is an employee of the school why do we disregard all that? >> again, it's a question with the first amendment deals with the government restricting speech, restricting the speech as an individual would be an employee or employee year and certainly they make the point as well as other cases. >> only you don't take the position that the school couldn't them this all together. >> this is where the problem comes in because they created a forum for the monterey to the speech, the government could based on the arguments of the council we're going to allow you to put up campaign posters but we will not allow a democratic campaign poster. those who want to put up posters to promote the campaign of john mccain or some other republican candidate, go right ahead and do so. put them on your classroom walls for you teachers who want to put
up republican posters or democratic posters you can't do that. here's the problem. they created for themselves. if you look at vincent in the case during the analysis when the government creates, when they allow this personal mantra to the speech there is no exception, no dispute that that is what they've done they have to live by the limits they set for themselves and in that format you can't make the few points for the discrimination. if they want to retain the control of the classrooms the have that option available to them. >> let's suppose the we disagree with your analysis of how the four and is characterized coming and we find for the reasons articulated by the judge clifton that this forum is closed. doesn't that strengthened the right of the school district to dictate what may or may not be posted on the walls inside of its class room particularly when the content being displayed to
students who have to be there? >> you still have a problem with the discrimination even on the nonpublic forum. >> do we have a problem under the pickering test if we concluded that this is not a speech on the public -- of the public interest if it is instead the employer speech, which is to be confined to whatever curriculum mr. johnston as a teacher is supposed to be teaching, then the supreme court has told us there is no first amendment protection. the school board can tell mr. johnston what he may say and what he may not say when he is on the clock. >> not nearly so much bickering but in a sense it does give the question mother it was pursuant to the duties that they were hired to do. some would be the government speech and where they found that was the government speaking it's
the government speech, so it is just a case doesn't grow if it is government speech, if it is government speech and not the non-curriculum personal speech of the individual to make those decisions that is why the facts matter. they said it was a curricular speech but they don't have the record and they even said in the decision that had been personal monitor secular speech they would have -- the district would have shown there was a material destruction for that speech. >> let me come at this a different way. if you take the position that nothing on the walls of mr. johnson's classroom could be curricular then what do we do with these huge white chalkboards that i see on er to 84 in which i presume mr. johnson when he's teaching calculus rights the calculus formula. >> the fact the open the form to allow them on personal doesn't mean it can't be used for the curriculum speech either. that seems to be --
>> if mr. johnson is using the same location in order to carry out the directives of the school board to teach mathematics, why doesn't the school board have the right to say to him we want you to teach mathematics, we do not want you to be talking about religion when you have. >> if they want to close the forum and exclude the personal mantra to the speech of the student tell her you can't put up your promoting gay rights, promoting environmental causes, promoting the anti-war causes or barack obama campaign poster, if they want to take that position they can. and said what mr. johnson after allowing the banners after 25 years and say we don't like your viewpoint. they are still the government at the end of the day and school districts and schools themselves are not enclaves of totalitarianism, taking a quote from the case, that is the
problem we are running into and that is why these facts are so important and why it is distinguishable from pickering, downs, all those other cases, they chose to open the form and allow the personal mom particular speech and they have to live by those restrictions. >> are we to include more than what the teacher says when class is in session. suppose we define curricular to say that the teacher is employed at a leader to in part of credit information's to students and that is done in addition to what is said in the classroom by other things the teacher does while he is on the school premises. >> so with that said, the court then of licenses a school district during the next campaign election that would allow them to put up all the democrats and all the campaign posters for barack obama but none for any republican
appointees. that is a huge problem. >> are you saying there are no limits to what they can regulate as far as the war goes if it is an open forum? because you put a point supremacy posters? >> it's a limited public forum so you can make the content based restrictions. they can tell you know political campaign posters. >> how about no religious stuff? >> for example if you want to put up crosses and the ten commandments to spoil you could do that. they have the tibetan prayer flag and it is no significance to the -- to mr. johnston. preparing apples and oranges. >> 35 to 34 prayer flags with images of buddah are described as tibetan prayer flags and to the historical for uses are not from sacred text.
they are from the founding documents. they don't represent any particular religion. they are historical in nature. >> it's hard to take that st. given the word of the creator and if you look at the picture there's obviously a message meant to be conveyed. it's not an accident that mr. johnston is conveying what happened to be his personal views with regard to the existence and the importance of god. to suggest that these are a bunch of historical documents, that is just not how it is. >> i think it is and if you look at the context of the fact that the world of religion played in the history of the nation, it's not any different than you see a poster of mother teresa or martin luther king or gandhi. nobody has concerned with those.
these are not quote the bible, even the creature in the actual word the declaration of independence is capitalized. declaration of independence -- >> is the word creator capitalized in the independence? >> only the first one. >> and in the banner what is it? >> to say that a student doesn't understand that is from the declaration of independence we have bigger problems than mr. johnson -- >> to say the student doesn't understand there is the message to become date suggests we have bigger problems still. >> this isn't meant to convey a religious message. >> it's impermissible under -- >> don't give me the legal question. you're saying it's all about facts and i am asking our students likely to infer from these banners a religious message? >> no. >> declaration is our founding document.
>> so your case rests on the premise the students want to infer the religious message from the banners. >> for them to make the viewpoint based distinction and if they rely on the star was recalls the fear cannot be an unfounded fear and that is on founded based on the fact of the case. first of all of mr. johnson's speech any student in that classroom you look at all the photographs any particular classroom any day and you will see that the classroom represents the personalities, opinions and all use of that teacher whether that person is a sports fan, social activist like lori brinkley the greatest number of pictures you walk into the classroom there's somebody that loves nature and he has his red white and blue banners. going to another classroom its antiwar and another question and see someone who's pro war. >> if we accept your position, aren't we constitutionalizing every grievance that ms. brinkley or some other
teacher might have about the content of some other teachers? aren't we doing exactly what the supreme court told us that nobody could be doing you don't want the federal courts making visits on campus to make sure everybody is complying with the first amendment, do you? >> the response is as i stated before. if they don't want to create this limited public forum they don't have to do so. the fact that they did have to abide by law in that particular forum. that is why this case is so unique. make it just curriculum it could only be the items the school district put up and they are more than free to do so to do that from the beginning. the fact they don't want to do that and they like to pick and choose which issues the what the teachers to promote that should cause it calls for concern. >> but if they do that and we find their speech, not his speech that it's being uttered inside this classroom then they can change any time they bought, can the not? because the first amendment doesn't protect him.
>> if they did not create the limited public forum, then exactly. that's why the facts of the case matter. they create in the public forum the testimony is without equivocation or exception personal mom particular speech on the individual of the teacher and that's what mr. johnson was doing and if you pick and choose among the few points in the form that you've created, that is a problem and it's a problem in the public school because it's the government and they are not enclaves of totalitarianism. they can't -- the government -- if they want to create a forum for the speech they have to live by those restrictions. estimate the supreme court has told us if it is their speech and if the public disagrees with the way the school board is running the schools and the answer is the ballot box. to get rid of the members of the school board and put other people in charge who will run the school when a different way. >> week of subject constitutional rights to democratic votes. >> if he had the constitutional right that is in the federal
court. stomach they've created for them, if they didn't create the form we don't have the problems today the decree that and they can close it tomorrow. they haven't lost control that's why the case inextinguishable and the is the limited public forum in a particular school content. if it was a non-curricular speech would have a different issue. downs makes the point if it wasn't the school's speech it would have a different issue. that is why the facts matter in this case. you can't escape the fact and those are the confines and the matter of which this has to be viewed. even greater constitutional concern to conclude the form tomorrow the control of the one to do that and they chose not to do that and that is when the problem becomes. now they're picking and choosing on the basis of the viewpoint. >> thank you. mr. speaker, you have one minute left. >> i would like to change my answer. i said he could unfold his banner at the afterschool meeting of the students.
the students could unfold the banners on the wall was no problem. advisers for the christian group are not supposed to be leading this particular activity. but if he wants to hand it to a student i would be happy. there is a footnote -- there is a foot note that this court has not addressed yet that deals with academic freedom. they have said k-12 doesn't get the obligation of the academic freedom and i think that's another thing that needs to be in this is the court needs to address the issue and determine whether the academic freedom applies to the public publishing issues for university professors and it doesn't apply and we would suggest it does not in the broad definition of the curriculum would be of importance. estimate your time is up. thank you. we will stand in recess.